Coming Soon: DANCE/Strasser

DANCE/Strasser, featuring choreography by undergraduate and graduate students from The College at Brockport’s nationally renowned Department of Dance, will be performed Thursday through Saturday, April 4 – 6, 2013, at 7:30 pm in Rose L. Strasser Studio in Hartwell Hall, Kenyon Street, Brockport.

The new works included in the showing highlight choreography and performance technique by students in one of the nation’s most respected college dance programs. All of the works go through rigorous adjudication and mentoring processes, in which the Department of Dance’s faculty encourage students to refine their choreographic vision and coach the dancers.

The concert features an MFA thesis project, “Clean This Up and Tie a Pretty Bow on it,” by graduate student Elizabeth Osborn. In this dance, Osborn mines the post-modern choreography of the 1960s to cultivate her own task-based movement vocabulary. This year’s spring concert also features a number of duets in which the choreographers each depict a unique, nuanced relationship between two people. Karl Rogers, Assistant Professor and Artistic Director of the concert, comments that “After seeing these works grow through the adjudication process, it is surprising how varied the duet form can be.” On the other side of the spectrum, Justin Bass’ “Vibe” and Christine Benincasa’s “Prism Dream Fragments” are vibrant group works that inhabit the entire stage and display powerhouse dancing. An added attraction to this program will be the winning work of the Student Dance Organization’s “Dancing With the Athletes” competition.

Ticket prices:
$10/Seniors, Brockport Alumni, Faculty and Staff
Tickets are available by phone at (585) 395-2787 or at the Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office. Visit for more information.
Any previously unsold tickets will be available for purchase at the Hartwell Box Office one hour prior to each performance.

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This Week: David Dorfman Dance Guest Artist Residency!

It’s finally here, Guest Artist week in the Department of Dance! As promised, David Dorfman is here, along with his company to spend the week teaching, rehearsing, participating in a panel discussion, and performing.

Some upcoming highlights:

2:30pm in Hartwell Theater
“Of Politics, Performance, and the Seeping Nature of Democratic Values” Lecture
Featuring Candace Feck of Ohio State University

12:30pm in Hartwell Theater
“The Choreographies of Politics” Roundtable Discussion
David Dorfman, Artistic Director of David Dorfman Dance
Candace Feck, Professor of Dance at Ohio State University,
Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Women and Gender Studies
Dr. Andrea Cioliotta-Rubery, Professor of Political Science
Karl Rogers Professor of Dance and performing company member for David Dorfman Dance
Maura Keefe, PhD., Chair of the Department of Dance

7:30pm in Strasser Studio
David Dorfman Dance Performance, followed by a post-performance discussion.
Get your tickets at the BSG Box Office, or on their NEW website!

Modern Dance Classes Open to Observation:
Monday 9:05am and 11:15am in Strasser Studio
Tuesday 9:30am in Studio 240 and 10:45am in Strasser Studio
Wednesday 9:05am in Studio 240 and 11:15am in Strasser Studio
Friday 11:15am in Studio 240 and Strasser Studio

For more information about David Dorfman Dance, including artist bios, check out the company’s website.

Special thanks to the Student Dance Organization (SDO) for sponsoring this event.

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Welcoming A New Costume Designer

By Erin Lowden
This past semester the department had the wonderful opportunity of welcoming a new costume designer to our community. Emma Scholl, former manager of the costume shop at The Hanger Theatre in Ithaca, NY, is now our full time costumer. She received her MFA in Costume Design from Florida State University and BA in Fashion, History, and Communications from Albright College. Originally Emma thought she wanted to design for theater, however she started working with the dance department at Bucknell University as an intern for a year and was, “mesmerized by the choreography and wanted to be involved in dance.” She then had opportunities to design for graduate thesis and faculty works at Florida State University solidifying her interest in costume design for dance. In the fall semester Emma designed the costumes for DANSCORE and MFA theses. Emma’s work has also been seen at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Steel River Playhouse, and the Milburn Stone Theatre.

She says that she loves the Brockport community and the support she has received from the faculty and students. We are all thrilled to have such a talented costumer in the department and are excited to see her designs come to life this upcoming semester!

You can see more of Emma’s work at her website.

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Save the Dates! Upcoming Shows for Spring 2013

In true Brockport fashion, the spring semester is jam packed with opportunities to see some great dance performances! Here are some highlights of what’s coming up, so mark your calendars!

Dance + Wine: Process in Progress
An Informal Showing with Feedback and Spirits
Featuring work by MFA Candidates Anna Corvera, Amanda McCullum, and Elizabeth Osborn
Saturday, February 2
Tango Cafe

Bill Evans Dance Company presents – RRROX Rochester Rhythm and Romance: Jazz Hugs and Tap Kisses
February 13-17
Wednesday 7:00pm
Thursday 5:30pm and 7:30pm
Friday and Saturday 5:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm and 4:00pm
Downstairs Cabaret Theater

The Metallic Series by Red Dirt Dance
Artistic Director Karl Rogers, Assistant Professor of Dance
February 15 & 16, 7:30pm
Multiuse Community Cultural Center

April 4-6
7:30pm Thursday through Saturday
2pm Saturday

April 18-20, 7:30pm

Mariah Maloney Dance
April 27
Visual Studies Workshop

May 2-4
7:30pm Thursday through Saturday
2pm Saturday and Sunday

Graduation Dances
May 17
6:30pm and 8:00pm

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54 New Dancers Dancing

By Angie Muzzy

What do you get when you audition 54 dancers, create 15 dances, and perform three shows? The 9th Annual New Dancers Showcase. The number of new students that entered the Department of Dance has grown again, making this year’s class the largest to date! The performances were packed with family and friends to see what our new students were up to all semester. As the concert coordinator and a choreographer I had the pleasure of seeing the dances from their conception to the final project and it was a joy to be a part of the process.

The show stopper was, Vamp Stamp, by Chelsea Gavazzi (MA ’13) a voguing tap medley set to the music of Kevin Aviance. What is voguing you might ask? It is a highly stylized, modern house dance that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene in the 1980s most notably made famous by Madonna and has recently regained popularity. If you know how to “shablam” you know what I’m talking about.

This year we tried something new: not only did we have graduate students and faculty members choreograph, we had four eager BFA dance majors participate as well. One of our talented seniors, Christine Benincasa created a sextet titled Intersecting Edges. I asked her what the inspiration for the glow sticks was; she said, “My dancers! They wanted to use them and of course I said why not?” The piece was a fun, upbeat exploration of space with dancers swirling in and out of the floor, lifting one another and circling in the dark as their luminous rings, wrapped around their wrists, appeared to float magically in the air. Another senior, Rebecca Puretz will be taking her piece, Collateral Collapse, to Brooklyn in March to perform at DanceWaves Kid’s Café Festival. This venue offers serious high school dancers an opportunity to see dance departments from esteemed schools in action and to gain information about what it is like to be a college dance major. Not so long ago our new dancers were in these “kids” shoes. I guarantee our students will have an abundance of experiences to share about being a dancer in our distinguished program.

The New Dancers Showcase was a great success with generous help and support of our choreographers, faculty advisors and most importantly the artistic director, William Evans. I would like to applaud all of our new dancers for making this yearly tradition both exciting and memorable!

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Class Act – David Dorfman Dance Company Coming Soon

By Jen Dayton

Looking for something creative, captivating and contemporary to set your eyes on? The opportunity to see the David Dorfman Dance Company in action is coming to the campus at Brockport. In the upcoming spring semester, David Dorfman Dance will be in residency at the college at Brockport. This is very exciting news for the Department of Dance because Assistant Professor Karl Rogers is a company member himself.

David Dorfman Dance has been around since 1985 and is one of the top modern dance companies. The company has been honored with eight New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards and has performed extensively in New York City and throughout North and South America, Great Britain, and Europe. David Dorfman Dance offers contemporary movement through space in its own unique and brilliant style and the college at Brockport is already buzzing with excitement to have the opportunity to work with David Dorfman and his company members.

This past summer, dance major Morgan Hasson and I took part in the David Dorfman Summer Intensive at Connecticut College. The experience we had with the company and other dancers that attended was unbelievable. Even though the intensive was only one week long, we received more information and experienced dance at a level beyond our imaginations. During the week, we took text, improvisation, repertoire, technique, and partnering classes with David, Lisa Race (David’s wife and former company member), and current company members, Karl Rogers, Whitney Tucker, Kendra Portier, and Raja Kelly. Morgan and I were truly amazed and inspired in each class we attended. On any particular day, whoever was teaching class really helped us understand the concept of what was being taught and how it related to the company’s work. Some of the most influential ideas I took away from the intensive were how to move efficiently, trust yourself, and the impact contact improvisation can have on dance.

At the tail end of the intensive, a global underscore took place, an annual event during which dancers around the world simultaneously unite in dance. Now for those of you who do not know what the underscore is Nancy Stark Smith explains the underscore in her book “Caught Falling.” Nancy Stark Smith states, “… It is a score that guides dancers through a series of ‘changing states,’ from solo deepening/releasing to sensitizing to gravity and support; through group circulation and interaction, Contact Improvisation engagements, opening out to full group improvisation with compositional awareness, and back to rest and reflection. The Underscore can be seen as a vehicle for incorporating Contact Improvisation into a broader arena of improvisational practice…”

For me, being part of the global underscore was awe inspiring. It brought the energy of dancers together from all over the world, including the David Dorfman Summer Intensive participants. Together, our spirits were combined and a magical feeling was created in the room at Connecticut College. Everyone’s passion for dance was pulsing in unison, creating rhythmic and energetic uniqueness. As everyone improvised with dancers they did not necessarily know, we came together through familiarity with the various movements being created in space. It was definitely a sight to see, something beautiful in the making.

Needless to say, everyone at the college at Brockport should mark their calendars for the David Dorfman Company residency. The company as a whole is open minded and invites everyone to take part in what they do, as they try to get to know each dancer and help him or her grow and learn. Working with the company was a life changing experience!

Editor’s Note: David Dorfman Dance will be on campus the week of February 25th, 2013. This residency is sponsored by the Student Dance Organization (SDO). Stay tuned for details about a performance you won’t want to miss featuring David Dorfman Dance to take place in Strasser Studio!

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Hip Hop Moves For Everyone

By Marielys Burgos-Meléndez

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) Brockport Student Chapter sponsored the second Hip Hop Happening event at Hartwell Hall on Saturday, November 10th. Dancers and non dancers of all ages from the Rochester area and beyond came together to participate in diverse workshops offered throughout the day. African Dance, Hip Hop, and Voguing were part of the classes taught by Brockport’s students. Also a Master Class on Break Dancing was offered by visiting artist, Eugene “Tin Man” Cleveland, a local hip hop dancer and scholarship student of the Garth Fagan Dance School (GFDS) in Rochester.

This unique event definitely created networks among the student body of The College at Brockport, students from other universities, local artists, dance studio teachers, and the community in general.

The excitement and fun continued during a free performance presented at the Hartwell Theater. The Step Team, the Hip Hop Club of Brockport as well as the Hip Hop Club from the University of Rochester presented original works. Eugene “Tin Man” performed a hip hop improvisation duet with Brockport undergraduate Shawn Powell. The audience members, including students, performers and the college’s Open House visitors (parents and prospective students who couldn’t resist this amazing event), enthusiastically cheered the performances.

NDEO’s goal is to continue hosting this great educational initiative to solidify relations with the community and create a space for everyone interested in learning some hip hop moves.

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Student Review of Dance/Hartwell

By Amanda Ott

On Saturday November 3rd I attended the matinee performance DANCE/Hartwell, a concert performed by students in the College at Brockport Department of Dance. I had previously attended a concert in the Strasser studio, and it was very interesting to observe the differences between a studio and theater performance. I enjoyed the performances very much.

The first piece of the show, entitled Beat It, was a piece by Janet Schroeder. It was a rhythm dance, and very well done. It must have taken a great deal of work to get it to sound so musical. My favorite part was when the dancers used vocals. It created an interesting effect with their other rhythmic movements such as clapping and stomping. The second piece was a solo called In the Quick. I thought that it was danced strongly and that it was overall well done. I also liked the costume; I thought it added to the strength of the performance to see the physical strength of the dancer.

Ensconce was magnificent. It had so many moments that inspired me to amazement. I wish I had retained the words to describe it, but what is left impressed on my memory is just the feeling that I was watching something quite extraordinary. I also thought the projection of shapes in the background was aesthetically pleasing. This was one of my favorite dances.

The next dance, entitled Rapunzel’s Shoes, was very enjoyable. I liked when the dancer walked forward with her helmeted head on the floor. It was a unique movement choice. I also felt that the rhythm made by the items being thrown into the bucket matched wonderfully with the movement. When the shoes were dropped into the bucket, it was both a satisfying and amusing moment. I do not know what it meant or why, but I know that I liked it. I do not always hope for a message in a dance; sometimes I just want to see movement in new or strange ways.

The Parable of Eden had a great energy to it! Because of the lyrics, it made me think of being in New York City, but I think the movement had this energy even without the lyrics. I really liked how the dancers came down in front of the stage at the end of the dance. I liked how one dancer was left behind at the end; she was too tired to make it back onstage, illustrating how New York City has a way of wearing people out. Through the Keyhole was a beautiful dance. There was a lot of movement that gestured toward the high space: dancers looked up, they arched their backs, and they leapt in the air. This brought the focus skyward, which I liked.

Infinite Assemblage was also one of my favorite dances of anything I have seen. It was cosmic and beautiful. The music was science-fiction like but also very pretty. The dancers had great technique, form, and presence. This was the type of dance that makes you feel good and think that the universe is a mysterious and wonderful place. I want to see it again!

I really enjoyed Dance/HARTWELL. It is such a pleasure to see the differences in choreography, costuming, lighting, music, and expression from piece to piece. I liked that there was no intermission, and I thought the show was the perfect length to keep me engaged. The theater experience was somewhat different than the Strasser studio experience. It felt more like a staged show, where Strasser felt more like the audience and the dancers were occupying the same space. Overall, DANCE/Hartwell was a great show. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to see these pieces and enjoy their nuances.

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Reflections on a Summer Performance

By Erin Lowden

On August 22, 2012 Assistant Professor of dance Mariah Maloney embarked on an amazing journey to the historical Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with 15 current and former Brockport dance students. Upon arrival on Wednesday evening the dancers perused the grounds of The Pillow, checked out the Inside/Out stage that they would be performing on the next day and watched the Joffrey Ballet company take class before their opening night performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre. The dancers were also given the opportunity to see the Doug Elkins Company perform and chat with Doug Elkins himself post show.

The following day Mariah and her dancers started the day with a self guided warm up in a studio resembling a log cabin. After warming up, the dancers were able to get on the Inside/Out stage and walk through the works that they would be performing. The day was spent in the beautiful outdoor space overlooking the Massachusetts Berkshires.

After a day of staging in the sun, Mariah Maloney Dance performed as the sun began to set on the outdoor space at 6:15pm. The performance opened with a solo performed by Mariah Maloney to classical Irish music. This was followed by Vensters, a piece danced by 14 women. Vensters was immediately followed by a duet danced by Mariah and MFA graduate Hannah Seidel and another solo, performed by Seidel. The performance closed with Rock, danced by 6 women to rock music. After the show there was a 10-minute discussion where the audience was able to ask questions and give their opinions on the works.

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Upcoming: Dance/Strasser and Dance/Hartwell to feature MFA Thesis Works

Four of the seven 2013 Master of Fine Arts candidates will be presenting choreography as the creative component of their final thesis projects. Dance/Strasser, October 18-20, will showcase Mapping by Nicole Kaplan. In Kaplan’s own words, Mapping is a glimpse inside the human mind, or rather, a confrontation of the ego. Eight women form a community of strength through combative yet supportive moving-forms through space, where complex rhythmic structures are brought to life through weight sensing and unpredictable partnering sequences.

With performances November 1-3, Dance/Hartwell is set to feature thesis work by Falon Baltzell and Juliana Utz, with an additional thesis excerpt by Janet Schroeder. Ensconce, choreographed by Falon Baltzell, contributes to the discourse of choreographic possibilities for the concert stage through movement investigations of negative space and confined spatial design. According to Baltzell, the dancers’ explorations of negative space leave the mental image of a picture, in which it dissipates while another one emerges. Throughout the piece, the dancers introduce specific movement details that come and go, yet leave an impression. Baltzell believes with spatial limitation comes discovery of movement possibilities; a playground of sorts where rules don’t apply. On the other end of the concert dance spectrum, Janet Schroeder presented the 45-minute concert Tap and… at the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, which featured a variety of percussive dances. The U.S. premiere of “Beat it” was in that concert, and it will also be shown in DANCE/Hartwell. “Beat it” was originally created for La Compañía de Danza Contemporánea, a professional company in Puebla, Mexico, where Schroeder served as guest artist in July 2012.

Stay tuned for more thesis works to come this spring by MFA candidates Anna Corvera, Amanda McCullum, and Elizabeth Osborn.

Additional Information:
Dance/Strasser October 18-20, 7:30pm
Dance/Hartwell November 1-3, 7:30pm and November 3, 2pm
Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 faculty, staff and alumni; $8 students.
Available now at Tower Fine Arts Box Office and at Hartwell Theater Box Office one hour before show time.

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